Tag Archives: liberal democrats

Opinion: Why I rejoined the Liberal Democrats

I sit here having just rejoined the Liberal Democrats. I was previously a member and considered getting active in my local area. I left because I felt dismayed by the type of politics that I was seeing happening around the country. UKIP were making gains in the European elections, every politician I hear or representative blamed other parties for the failures of the past. In 2010 I was very active within my personal capacity to do so. I delivered campaign material on the doors in all weathers. I had conversations with lifelong Conservative voters in an attempt to highlight the reasons why more Liberal Democrats in Parliament would be good for society. However, since then it seemed that even 4 years on everyone blames someone else for things not getting better.

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++ Susan Gaszczak resigns from the Lib Dems over handling of Chris Rennard allegations

Susan Gaszczak and her family have quit the party over the handling of the Chris Rennard allegations. Earlier this afternoon, Susan tweeted this, including her open resignation letter:

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LibLink: Sam Ghibaldan: Clegg needs to be assertive

Clegg on OsbourneI’m not going to lie, I bet a lot of you are thinking Sam who? Chances are if you live in Scotland, you’ll be less curious because you will know that he was a Senior Special Adviser to Scottish Liberal Democrat Deputy First Ministers Jim Wallace and Nicol Stephen. As such, his perspective on who the Liberal Democrats should proceed in the run up to the General Election is highly relevant. In a recent Scotsman column, he said that Nick Clegg needs to get out there and shout about our core beliefs.

Some of the headlines faced by Nick Clegg were also seen in Scotland:

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Opinion: Long term gains from short term arguments

Libby - Some rghts reserved by David SpenderMost participants in the post-election debate have concentrated on specific changes they want now: the Leader, his advisers, the communications team, the detail of policy issues etc.  I firmly believe that the underlying issues are systemic rather than one-off and that we should use the opportunity to establish structures for the future which minimise the likelihood of problems arising and improve our capacity as a democratic Party for dealing with them.

Some key targets:

  1. Agreement by the Party in advance on the elements which underpin construction

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Opinion: Back in the front line – both of them

joinThis week, I applied to re-join the Liberal Democrats after a two and a half year absence.

Back then, I’d felt deep shame at what the party was (and wasn’t) doing in government: austerity, welfare reform, tuition fees, ham fisted attempts at both electoral and Lords reform, to name a few.

I’m still angry, and still ashamed, about much that Coalition has done. I’m a fierce critic of Nick Clegg, and I’m not the world’s biggest fan of the Orange Book. So why, you may ask, have I rejoined now?

Posted in Op-eds | 62 Comments

Opinion: An anti-Liberal Democrat press isn’t going to go any easier on any Liberal Democrat leader

Sun newspaper - License Some rights reserved by vapour trail Liberal Democrats 4 Change have a point about one thing. They are right to say that the Liberal Democrats do not get a fair hearing. However, they are mistaken to think that a leadership change would alter anything in this regard.

It is instructive to recall the moment Clegg began to get a bad rap from voters. At what point was this? The answer is not as obvious as you may think, It didn’t start with Secret Courts, Bedroom Tax or Tuition …

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What are Lib Dem MEPs doing for you?

We said yesterday that Lib Dem MEPs were too good to lose.

Here’s a short video which was played at the Conference rally at York this Spring which shows some of the excellent work that they do.

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Not everything you read on the internet about UKIP and Nigel Farage is true

nigel farageThis morning, Facebook timelines were bombarded with an image of Nigel Farage next to a quote in which he is supposed to have said that UKIP wanted to ban beards of more than 2 inches. “The beard goes or you go” he is supposed to have said on Anglia Radio on Saturday. After a quick (and horrible) mental image of Prime Minister Farage banning Z Z Top from entering the country, I quickly realised that it didn’t sound right. And if it had been true, such a juicy quote as …

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Opinion: Labour’s cheap attacks on Clegg’s integrity reflect badly on them

Labour broadcast Shrinking manThe word appalling doesn’t even begin to cover Labour’s most recent campaign video. It’s a spiteful attack ad on the character of Nick Clegg, and in case you haven’t seen it, you can find it here. Feel free to grab something to vomit into beforehand.

I’m a 16 year old student, and I joined the Liberal Democrats in 2013 for three reasons. I believe passionately that democracy in Britain is failing, and the Liberal Democrats are the only party that seek that cause with integrity. I couldn’t deal …

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Why people vote for Liberal Democrat Councillors

Cllr Phil Knowles and winning teamFollowing on from yesterday’s launch of the Liberal Democrat campaign for the local government elections, I thought I’d offer a few reflections on why people vote for Liberal Democrat councillors. Why is it that in places like Three Rivers in Hertfordshire and Oadby and Wigston that the Liberal Democrats have been in power for years on end?

Big hearts and hard work

Our councillors are embedded in their communities. They know what’s going on, they keep themselves in touch with what people are thinking and they  listen to …

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Party gets smart over fundraising

Pound coins with no dateWe know that the Obama campaign made great use of micro-fundraising during its two successful campaigns. If you are signed up to the emails, you’ll know the kind of thing. You get an email asking you to donate $5 before midnight to get a chance to have dinner with Obama or some (other) celebrity.

The Liberal Democrats have been experimenting a lot with that sort of thing. During the Eastleigh by-election I had a whole host of emails, with increasingly emotional appeals, designed to get me in my …

photo by: Images_of_Money
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Men, is your behaviour driving women out of politics?

Imagine you are in a meeting trying to make your case. How would you feel if, every time you opened your mouth to speak, somebody interrupted you before you had got to the end of your first sentence? Not just once. Every. Single.Time.

Imagine you are in a meeting, trying to make your case, but the decision has clearly been made by a small cabal of powerful men who have reached their own understanding over dinner and some booze the night before, at an event that you were not invited to.

Imagine you are in a meeting trying to do your job …

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Opinion: There is a place for Liberal Democrats within the trade union movement

On leaving the Labour Party last year (which I have written about here), I was asked if I was going to be leaving my trade union UNISON. I didn’t and no don’t intend to. The question confused me. I was a trade union activist in the Labour Party more than I was ever a Labour Party activist who happened to be in a trade union.

As a trade unionist I see the purpose of my membership is to be supported at work and to have the union collectively bargain on my behalf for better pay, terms and conditions at work. …

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Liberal Democrats end year with historic membership growth – but we must keep up the good work

The Liberal Democrats ended 2013 with 43,451 members, nearly 1000 more than we had at the start of the year.

This is historic for two reasons. Firstly, we’re the only party in recent history to increase their membership during a year in Government. Secondly, the party’s membership has dropped every year for the last decade (excluding a couple of bumps before general elections), so getting back to a position of growth in the middle of the electoral cycle is a significant achievement.

Underlying this headline is some more good news. The party’s retention of members is now just under 90%, which is …

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Telegraph: “Liberal Democrats believe party can oust several Tories”

Yesterday’s Telegraph has a report that the Liberal Democrats believe that they can win or win back some seats currently held by the Tories.

The seats mentioned are Oxford West and Abingdon, Winchester and St Albans. These seats have all selected their candidates, Layla Moran, Jackie Porter and Sandy Walkington. I could also add Richmond Park, where Robin Meltzer is working hard, campaigning against Heathrow expansion with the help of two neighbouring cabinet ministers. In Harrogate we have Helen Flynn and in Newton Abbot and Truro and Falmouth, Richard Younger-Ross and Simon Rix are in place. All these candidates are …

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How should the Liberal Democrats deal with everyday sexism?

Today’s Daily Mail has an article making various allegations of sexist attitudes towards women within the Liberal Democrats. They’ve been running similar stories all week following the Rock the Boat fringe meeting earlier. One particular woman candidate says that she was told by someone in her local party not to get pregnant because “we don’t want a baby hanging of your t**s.”

The Daily Mail is an unlikely feminist champion, but that shouldn’t detract from the need to tackle such behaviour, which includes inappropriate questions to female candidates during the selection process about their relationships or their plans to have …

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Lord (Tom) McNally writes: The year ahead for Liberal Democrat Lords

LAST week I had the delight, honour and privilege to open the second day of the debate on the Queen’s Speech in the Lords –at four days long, practically the debating equivalent of test cricket.

As I told the House, I have never hidden the reality that, in the present economic climate, the Coalition Government has had to make hard decisions and tough choices to achieve an economic recovery underpinned by fairness. But I believe that in our first three years we have made the tough decisions necessary.

A new parliamentary year is beginning, however, and a new raft of legislation is …

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Opinion: why I’m still a Liberal Democrat…

I’ve been a Liberal Democrat supporter as long as I can remember. My parents were involved with the party, and often shared their political views with my sister and I when we were children. Therefore, I suppose it is no surprise that I actively support the party today.

However, I have to confess that since the Coalition agreement, and the abandonment of the tuition fees promise, I have occasionally wondered why I continue to support the party. A little doubt was creeping into my mind. I never supported the tuition fee policy, but was a little disappointed that some MPs …

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Why it’s worth being a member of the Liberal Democrats

Today, the Liberal Democrats fulfilled their key election pledge of raising the income tax threshold to £10,000.

And they’ve produced a nifty little picture to tell us about it. And we should rightly be proud.

Tax Threshold infographic

 

 

This doesn’t tell the whole story, though. How did this get in to our manifesto in the first place? Did it fall out of the Orange Book and hit David Laws on the head? I have to say there’s no clue in either of the emails I’ve seen from Danny Alexander today.

Actually no. It came from …

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Julian Huppert MP writes…..The Preamble, 25 years on

25 years ago, our party agreed its new constitution – and the preamble to that constitution, setting out our core values and vision.

Many of us will know some of it – ‘The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, … in which no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance, or conformity’.

This extract – the bit that appears on membership cards – is in my view truly poetic, and captures brilliantly what we are trying to do. We are concerned about people, and empowering them to do what they can and want to do. …

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Farron: “We screwed this up”

Speaking on Radio Four’s Today programme, Party President Tim Farron spoke candidly about the the handling of the alleged inappropriate behaviour of the party’s former chief executive, stating very plainly:

The one thing I probably can tell you without going through due process is that we screwed this up as a party. There are individuals out there who we have a duty of care towards who we did not fulfil that duty of care to them and that is something we have to learn from, apologise for, and make sure never happens again.

He emphasised two key points which will guide the …

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New Labour group: Lib Dems might prove more tenacious than many people expect

Liberal Democrat badge - Some rights reserved by Paul Walter, Newbury, UKProgress is a New Labour pressure group. On their website, Mark Rusling argues that there are strong signs that the Lib Dems are “waving, not drowning”. He bases this on evidence from local government, particularly from Waltham Forest Council:

…I have a gnawing worry that, while the Liberals aren’t thriving, neither are they drowning. They might prove more tenacious than many people expect.

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What do women Lib Dems want?

Last summer I wrote a survey that was sent to all party members, as part of informing the creation of a new Lib Dem women’s organisation. Colleagues at the Campaign for Gender Balance and the Women Liberal
Democrats are working on a new constitution, and I hope many Lib Dem Voice readers will consider joining, so please get in touch if you would like further details. Please email me at tamoralangleyATgmail.com, replacing “AT” with “@”.

Perhaps the trickiest issue to resolve, in a party characterised by people who tend to think of themselves as individuals rather than members of a group, is …

Posted in Party policy and internal matters | 4 Comments

LibLink: Andrew De Freitas – rebel with a cause

This is Grimsby has an in-depth article on veteran local councillor Andrew De Freitas:

A year after fleeing riots in his homeland, a young political activist from British Guiana arrived in Grimsby. In the first of a new series profiling our ward councillors, Local Government Reporter Simon Faulkner speaks to the Liberal Democrat Andrew De Freitas.

“I WAS always a bit of a rebel”, smiles Andrew De Freitas, recalling his childhood in the Caribbean colony of British Guiana.

“My father said ‘this boy when he grows up is going to be a lawyer’, because I was always prepared to argue on people’s

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Opinion: Against liberalism

Statue of David Lloyd George - Some rights reserved  by GabludlowI am a liberal. I believe in standing up for people and communities against over-powerful vested interests – in business, the State, the media, or the unions. However, I also believe that liberalism alone is an inadequate political philosophy, and an insufficient foundation for this Party.

The problem centres on our determination to play down the significance of Left and Right. We sneer that the concepts are simplistic. We seek to defuse or ignore left-right conflict. The inconvenient truth we deny is that Left and Right do matter, often enough to split our party.

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Opinion: We’ve got our strategy the wrong way round

Liberal Democrat badge - Some rights reserved by Paul Walter, Newbury, UKLast Friday Lib Dem HQ sent out an email to parliamentarians, PPCs, council group leaders and other office holders about our party’s new message script. The full email, if anyone is interested, can be found herehere, courtesy of the Liberator.

Aside from the immensely catchy wordy message of “the Lib Dems are working to build a stronger economy in a fairer society, enabling every person to get on in life” (complete with an incredible 16 sub messages), a key point was this:

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Pizza entrepreneur’s £775,000 gift to Lib Dems questioned – Telegraph

The Sunday Telegraph reports that “the Liberal Democrats are facing an investigation into one of the party’s largest donors”. Part of the reports reads as follows:

The Electoral Commission has been asked to examine whether £775,000 paid to the Lib Dems by Rumi Verjee, the entrepreneur who brought Domino’s Pizzas to Britain, is an “impermissible donation”.

The payments were made through Brompton Capital Limited, a company with no staff that has not recorded a turnover since 2003.

Mr Verjee dined with Nick Clegg at Chevening, the grace and favour mansion in Kent used by the Lib Dem leader, a month after the second

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LibLink: Prateek Buch on Nick Clegg’s speech today

Double Clegg 2 - Some rights reserved by Liberal DemocratsOn Comment is Free, Social Liberal Forum director, Prateek Buch provides an interesting critique of Nick Clegg’s speech today:

At least Clegg recognises that Liberal Democrats have to stand up for what we truly believe in. The recent direction of travel on Leveson, drugs reform and snooping is welcome, and we await more robust promotion of party policy on things that really matter to most people – a fair, sustainable economy where living

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LibLink: Richard Reeves on stepping away from the Tories

David-Cameron-and-Nick-CleggOn Comments is Free, Richard Reeves argues that, in 2013, Nick Clegg needs to establish a more assertive identity and win voters over for bold, new reasons:

The coalition will be a play in two acts. Act one had the parties acting largely in tandem – reforming public services, reversing Labour’s

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Nick Clegg’s speech: Governing Britain from the centre ground: building a stronger economy in a fairer society

 Nick Clegg at rallyNick Clegg gave a keynote speech at the Royal Commonwealth Society on the eve of his 5th anniversary of his election as Liberal Democrat leader. This is what he had to say:

I don’t suppose it’s exactly controversial to suggest that I and my party have changed over that period. Today I will argue that we’ve changed for the better.
Because my purpose here today is to explain, clearly and simply, what the Liberal Democrats offer the people of
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    As well as protecting the environment and tackling climate change, we should be defending localism. If Southampton residents want to expand their local airport that's...
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    The point is, no country has ever joined the EU having previously been part of another member state, So that assertion of Alexander's is meaningless....
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    Oh dear Danny! I thought you had begun to switch to a more positive mode. Statements like this read as an act of political hari...
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